Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah announces a new season of work, welcoming theatre-makers and audiences back through the doors to create and experience live performance for the first time since the Young Vic’s 50th Birthday celebrations in October 2020.
The season opens with Changing Destiny, Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri’s stunning new adaptation of the 4,000-year-old Egyptian poem of Sinuhe the Warrior King, directed by Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and designed by award-winning architect Sir David Adjaye
Best of Enemies, a new play by Olivier Award-winner James Graham, follows the debates that changed politics and television forever, directed by Jeremy Herrin in a co-production with Headlong
Klippies, the acclaimed debut by Jessica Siân, a coming-of-age drama set in the twentieth year of South Africa’s democracy about the intensity of first love, directed by Genesis Future Directors Award recipient Diyan Zora
A unique collaboration between human and computer minds, AI is a play developed by Chinonyerem Odimba and Nina Segal, written alongside GPT-3 OpenAI technology. Using this advanced deep-learning artificial intelligence system to generate human-like script and dialogue, Genesis Fellow and Associate Director Jennifer Tang and Company will create a new play for the stage. In this unique hybrid of research and performance, the script will be brought to life over a series of evenings by the writers, actors and company, alongside insights into how the artists collaborated with the AI
Best Seat in Your House, an innovative multi-camera immersive broadcast experience inviting audiences to play with the broadcast form. Viewers choose between taking The Director’s Chair – with the possibility to cut live to any camera in the theatre at any time throughout a show – or relax and enjoy the live edit of a show with The Director’s Cut
Young Vic Taking Part present the third YV Unpacked tour, taking a professional production to venues such as elderly care homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centres. Love Reign, an eclectic piece of new writing about friendship, is Written by Shereen Jasmin Phillips and Directed by Stef O’Driscoll
Taking Part also bring the world of theatre and ballroom together in an explosive evening of music, dance, walking and partying with Sundown Kiki, a bold celebration of Queer South London in all its glory, with Creative Direction by Jay Jay Revlon, Directed by Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu
Kwame Kwei-Armah, Young Vic Artistic Director, said: “This pandemic has wielded an unquantifiable wound to theatre-makers and theatres, the repercussions of which we will continue to feel for a long time. We have seen a year of racial reckoning reverberate through our sector, a cry of pain and a call to do better. To announce a new season of work fills my heart with optimism, as it comes with the hope that artists can return to their craft, and as we rebuild, we improve on what was good, and take time to undo the broken systems and structures.
My message with this new season is Welcome Back and Welcome Home. The Young Vic is a civic centre and a home-away-from-home for our community. It is a space for us to hear extraordinary stories told by the world’s finest artists that help us see the world through someone else’s eyes.
With Ben Okri’s Changing Destiny and Shakespeare’s Hamlet we bring you the tales you thought you knew, and present them afresh. These stories have withstood the test of time because they continue speak to what it means to be human, and I believe now, more than ever, they deliver messages we need to hear. We also bring you bold work to illuminate our present. Our co-production with Headlong, Best of Enemies is a new play from James Graham that places its fingers on the political pulse of 1960s America, but could not feel more current today.
Emerging from the pandemic into a world which feels more digitalised than ever before, our ambitious experiment with technology continues. With AI, we ask great human and computer minds to come together, to see how each may inform the other in the creation of art. With Best Seat in Your House – our offer of multi-camera broadcasts – we invite audiences to play with technology, redefining the live streaming experience for ultimate flexibility and choice.
Our Directors Program, which for the last twelve months has served over 4,000 artists, will continue adapting to meet the needs of its members, including finding ways to interrogate the structures that limit our future generations of theatre-makers. They continue helping artists develop their craft; in this season we see a new version of Klippies, directed by Genesis Future Directors Award recipient Diyan Zora.
And Taking Part, our creative engagement department, will continue extending its arms as wide as possible to our local boroughs, touring a brand new play Love Reign to venues like hospitals, prisons, and residential homes, and with Sundown Kiki, they welcome Queer South London to our space to tell their stories.
Both the Young Vic Directors Program and Taking Part, supported by the wider YV team, have overcome the hurdles of this pandemic year to reach their networks and connect them to art. I feel this moment is a celebration of their achievements, as much as it is anticipating the excellence to come.
So, we can’t wait to welcome you back into our theatre. Some elements, such as the measures we have in place to ensure your safety, might feel slightly different as protecting our staff and audiences is – and always will be – our priority. But much will feel exactly like the Young Vic home you remember. We are committed to keeping ticket prices low, starting at £10. We continue with our £5 first previews. We will keep giving 10% of our tickets free to those who experience barriers to accessing the arts, our local communities, and early-career artists – irrespective of box office demand. So join us to participate in the magic of live theatre, as we take you from Ancient Egypt to Artificial Intelligence, and everything in between.
Welcome back and welcome home.”
Tickets go on sale to Friends of the Young Vic on Thursday 20 May, 12noon. Public booking opens Thursday 27 May, 12noon.